The nation’s second-largest health system, Ascension, has agreed to allow the software behemoth Google access to tens of millions of patient records. The partnership, called Project Nightingale, aims to improve how information is used for patient care. Specifically, Ascension and Google are trying to build tools, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, “to make health records more useful, more accessible and more searchable” for doctors.
“Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.”
A new report from Amnesty International accuses Facebook and Google of having a “surveillance-based business model” that threatens users’ right to privacy and other human rights.
The tech giants, said Kumi Naidoo, secretary general of Amnesty International, have amassed “unparalleled power over the digital world by harvesting and monetizing the personal data of billions of people. Their insidious control of our digital lives undermines the very essence of privacy and is one of the defining human rights challenges of our era.” Continue reading
“To be honest, I do not understand the United States,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern
The White House announced Wednesday it will not join a global initiative, launched in the wake of a massacre in New Zealand two months ago, to tackle racist and extremist online content.
“By not standing alongside other world leaders to fight hate,” said the Southern Poverty Law Center in response, “President Trump has shown once again that he doesn’t understand the importance of white supremacy in fueling terrorism.” Continue reading
“As employees and shareholders we do not want to become war profiteers.”
Declaring to chief executives that they refuse “to become war profiteers,” a group of Microsoft workers on Friday demanded the company cancel a contract with the U.S. Army that they say would “help people kill” and turn warfare into a “video game.”
Their open letter is addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and president and chief legal officer Brad Smith, and, according to the “Microsoft Workers 4 Good” Twitter handle, which posted the document, it got over employee 100 signatures in its first day. Continue reading
Journalist Rania Khalek, whose video was restored after public outcry, says the ability of social media giants “to disappear content as they please” is “creepy and alarming and should be loudly opposed.”
After the New York Times on Thursday published an exposé of Facebook‘s global censorship rulebook, journalist Rania Khalek called out the social media giant for taking down a video in which she explains how, “on top of being occupied, colonized territory, Palestine is Israel’s personal laboratory for testing, refining, and showcasing methods and weapons of domination and control.”
Tweeting out the Times report—and noting that while, according to the newspaper, “moderators were told to hunt down and remove rumors wrongly accusing an Israeli soldier of killing a Palestinian medic,” Israeli soldiers did fatally shoot an unarmed 21-year-old female paramedic earlier this year—she announced Friday morning that Facebook had “just removed” her video. Continue reading
“There need to be consequences when corporations don’t protect your data. My bill will put reckless CEOs in jail if they lie about protecting your personal information.”
At the tail end of a year full of egregious data mining scandals and privacy violations by corporate giants like Facebook, Google, and Equifax—behavior that went virtually unpunished in the United States—Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday that would dramatically strengthen internet privacy protections and hit executives who violate the rules with up to 20 years in prison.
“Today’s economy is a giant vacuum for your personal information—everything you read, everywhere you go, everything you buy, and everyone you talk to is sucked up in a corporation’s database. But individual Americans know far too little about how their data is collected, how it’s used and how it’s shared,” Wyden said in a statement. Continue reading
During the past several years, there has been increased pressure coming from some in the federal government aided and abetted powerful advocacy groups in the private sector to police social and alternative media. It is a multi-pronged attack on the First Amendment which has already limited the types of information that Americans have access to, thereby narrowing policy options to suit those in power.
The process has been ostensibly driven by concerns over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, but it is really about who controls and limits the public’s right to know what is going on out of sight in Washington and New York City, where politics and money come together. If one is interested in the free flow of information and viewpoints that comes with the alternative media, it certainly does not look that way. Robert Parry described it as a deliberate process of “demonizing and silencing dissent that questions mainstream narratives.” Continue reading
“The absence of consumer representatives all but ensures a narrow discussion, focused on policy alternatives favored by business groups.”
While representatives for Apple, AT&T, Amazon, Charter Communications, Google, and Twitter are all slated to testify at a Sept. 26 Senate hearing about safeguarding consumer data privacy, the nation’s leading consumer advocacy groups weren’t invited—and they’re not happy about it.
In a letter (pdf) to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation on Wednesday, 28 groups expressed their “surprise and concern that not a single consumer representative was invited to testify” and called on committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) to reconsider the witness list. Continue reading
Although Saudi Arabia has killed or injured several thousand women in neighboring Yemen, beheading a female is completely unprecedented inside the Kingdom thus far.
Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a 29-year-old woman activist for crimes such as chanting slogans at a protest. Beheading a woman is unprecedented in the kingdom. Meanwhile, Facebook has sprung into action to protect Riyadh’s back by initiating a crackdown on hundreds of accounts posting anti-Saudi content.
- Saudi prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for five activists with non-violent charges.
- All of the activists belong to the kingdom’s historically oppressed Shia minority. One is a woman.
- Facebook has coincidentally begun removing anti-Saudi accounts under the guise of fighting “Iranian interference.”
- A private cybersecurity firm with ties to the US military tipped off Facebook to the accounts.
“How much more of your personal existence are you willing to give up to continue to be a sieve of your data for a multi-billion dollar corporation?”
Apparently not satisfied with access to its users’ call history, text messaging data, and online conversations, Facebook has reportedly asked major Wall Street firms like JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo to hand over their customers’ sensitive financial data as part of the social media giant’s ongoing attempt to become “a platform where people buy and sell goods and services.”
And according to the Wall Street Journal—which first reported on Facebook’s plans on Monday—the social media behemoth isn’t the only tech company that wants access to Americans’ financial data. Google and Amazon have also “asked banks to share data if they join with them, in order to provide basic banking services on applications such as Google Assistant and Alexa,” the Journal pointed out, citing anonymous sources familiar with the companies’ ambitions. Continue reading